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Five highlights from the speech from the throne

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Five highlights from the speech from the throne

OTTAWA — In a new speech from the throne, the Liberal government detailed its plan to face the coming second wave of COVID-19, support Canadians and businesses that are still struggling because of the pandemic and boost the economy for longer-term recovery. 

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s speech: 

Helping provinces reinforce COVID-19 testing

The Liberals vowed to support provinces to increase their COVID-19 testing capacities, so Canadians don’t wait in lines for hours. 

A federal testing assistance response team will be created to quickly meet surging testing needs, including providing tests in remote and isolated communities.

Thanking Canadians for doing their part by wearing masks, the government also promised to continue providing personal protective equipment by building domestic production capacity and securing supply chains internationally.

Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

As more lockdowns are anticipated to prevent small clusters of COVID-19 from turning to major outbreaks, the Liberal government promised to provide additional financial support for businesses that will have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision.

The broader Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended through the next summer to help business overcome the burden the pandemic. 

The government also again promised a transitional Canada Recovery Benefit for those who won’t qualify for benefits under the new expanded employment-insurance system that is to replace Canada Emergency Response Benefit by the end of this month. 

Creating a new Canadian Disability Benefit

Highlighting that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities, the government said it will bring forward a disability inclusion plan that will include a new Canadian Disability Benefit, an employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities and a better process to determine eligibility for government disability programs and benefits.

The Liberals promised to work with the provinces and territories to set new national standards for long-term care so that seniors get the best support possible, and to take additional action to help people stay in their homes longer.

Major support for clean-technology companies

Aiming to make Canada a world leader in clean technology, the Liberals promise a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emissions products. The government will also cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies.

The government promises a clean-power fund. This fund will be included with projects like the Atlantic Loop that will transmit surplus clean power to regions transitioning away from coal.

Manufacturing, natural-resource, and energy sectors are promised financial support from Ottawa as they work toward a future in which Canada has net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions.

Tackling systemic racism

The Liberals say a fight against racism will be informed by the experiences of racialized communities and Indigenous Peoples.

Addressing hate speech online, providing more economic support for specific communities and increasing diversity in public procurement are all on the Liberals’ agenda.

As Black Canadians and Indigenous people are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, the government promised to take steps to ensure that criminal justice is used to keep people safe, and not to be discriminatory or counterproductive.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

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